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Mar 30, 2005

New police Commish outlines plans

Story PictureHe took over command of the department two weeks ago and today Commissioner of Police Gerald Westby made the first of what will be a series of stops at police formations around the country to introduce himself to the rank and file. Flanked by Deputy Commissioner Maureen Leslie and other members of the high command, Westby outlined an ambitious vision for the direction he would like to take the department. He explained to News 5 that while it will mean a lot of hard work, he is up to the challenge.

Gerald Westby, Commissioner of Police
?I want to look internally and if you noticed this morning–you weren?t here–but we had an inspection parade. We want to bring back that image, that self pride in policemen. We rewarded four policemen this morning for their small turnout and equally rewarded four this afternoon. We want to project the correct image as a police force so that we can garner public support. We want to really look at welfare, but equally we want to get the community support. And I will be very, very tough on gun related violence.?

?We?ll be working at programmes, looking at repeat offenders; working with the D.P.P. office to get them behind bars, especially gun related violence. We must readdress gun related violence in Belize City and we will be very tough with gun related violence. But at same time, we will be working with the community at large. I have a number of programmes that I would like to introduce like the citizens on patrol to get people out there with certain guidelines to help assist us with patrolling; citizens on patrol at the academy where they would be given a thirteen days programme training so that they could appreciate what the police are going through.?

?I also want to address most importantly the youths especially on the south side of Belize; review our youth strategy to look at first offenders programme. We will look at creating a police explorer programme where we will go to high schools and see that people who are interested in a career in law enforcement, to start to accompany the police so that we get people to know that the police are their friends also. We want to introduce another program that we call ?Do the right thing? to recognise young people that does something great, community related and probably work with the business community to give them some sort of official recognition. The media and business community would play a role.?

Also on the Commissioner’s blueprint is a programme to bring out-of-control young people into line and also to rein in law enforcement officers who appear to be losing the fitness battle.

Gerald Westby
?The first ninety days will be my landmark to see that these programmes are implemented. I am just doing the framework and the officers are a team. If you notice I am very much into team work and there would be charted and most of the programmes we want to pilot will be done in Belize City especially on the south side where we see most of our social and crime related problems and then work the other programmes as we progress.?

?What I want to do is to have transparency in promotion. We want to set examinations and we want to have a promotion board where you go before the board and you are selected based not only on promotion but your other criteria. We want to go to government and see if we could get the police to top into first landowners programme. So that people who are here five years can start to get their first time to own a house or get a lot so that they can build. We don?t want to have police retire and do not go into their own homes.?

Patrick Jones
?We?ve noticed over the years while covering the police and their activities and crime in general, that police men come out of the training academy and they are fit men and women but shortly after they seem to loose the battle against fitness. Is that something that you are going to be looking at??

Gerald Westby
?That is what I am talking about. We are having in service training, training and more training to include physical training. We need to bring that back for our own health and well being and to be able to perform more efficiently both mentally and physically.?

Westby says that the last piece of the change of command puzzle will fall into place this weekend when Crispin Jeffries takes over command of Eastern Division.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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